After the new international format of BRICS was established, the national trade union centres of its member states have closely followed the process of its development in terms of possible involvement in its activities. BRICS trade unions agree that this structure clearly symbolizes the transition from a unipolar to a more equitable world. In that respect they advocate for the positioning of BRICS as a new model of global relations atop the old East-West or North-South barriers.
The idea of setting up BRICS Trade Union Forum received unequivocal support at the 2nd Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in Vancouver in 2010 and has evolved through a series of consultations held during the meetings of the governing bodies of the ITUC and the ILO.
This work resulted in the signing of BRICS Trade Union Forum Declaration during the High-Level Conference on Decent Work held in Moscow in December 2012 under the auspices of the ILO (Declaration I, BRICS Trade Union Forum, December 11, 2012).
Creation of a new global trade union structure uniting the largest national federations in the countries occupying 30% of the Earth’s surface being home to 43% of its population and producing about one quarter of the world GDP, "will promote dialogue and cooperation between the peoples, confer to BRICS a social dimension underpinned by the ILO Decent Work concept," as asserted in the Declaration. Moreover, such a step would help to expand the already established formats of cooperation within BRICS.
The inclusion of workers' representatives in the official format of BRICS would provide additional opportunity to accelerate comprehensive development of our countries and demonstrate around the world that this Forum can become a real counterweight to the forces that now seek to dictate the course of the world development.
BRICS Trade Union Forums are held annually in the countries and cities where and when the BRICS summits are taking place. Trade union delegates discuss the drafts of BRICS documents including those of the intergovernmental nature and formulate their position on the most important issues of the joint agenda. Declarations adopted at the Forums are then handed over to BRICS heads of state for the workers’ position to be taken account.
Starting from 2016 trade unions take part in the meetings of BRICS Ministers of Labour and Employment as social partners.
In addition to official trade union delegates the sessions and meetings of BRICS Trade Union Forums are attended by local trade union activists, as well as invited representatives of the ITUC, ILO and the government of the host country. In 2017, the BRICS member unions approved the Provisional Rules of the Trade Union Forum.
Routine work in-between the meetings and Forums is carried out by national coordinators designated by each of the BRICS countries.
Trade unions delegates consultation. 3rd Annual Meeting of BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers in Chongqing
Delegates of national trade union centres from all BRICS countries were given an opportunity to express their views on the issues on LEMM agenda and to engage in open exchange with the ministers and employer representatives.
Representatives of national trade union centres from Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa discussed topical issues of cooperation within BRICS during the international trade union workshop held on November 14-15, 2016 in Johannesburg (South Africa).
Trade unions delegates consultation on the fields of BRICS labor and employment ministers' Meeting. New Delhi, September 2016.
On September 26-27, 2016 the 2nd BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting took place in New Delhi with a meeting of BRICS trade union representatives held on its sidelines.